Polarization and partisan animosity provide an opportunity for scam artists to make money — sometimes from both sides at once.

Laura J. Nelson reports at LAT

Two Californians set up a pair of political action committees, called the Liberty Action Group and the Progressive Priorities PAC, to cash in on the growing rift between Republicans and Democrats, the U.S. Justice Department said. The two groups made more than 275 million robocalls over a 16-month period and netted nearly $4 million in small-dollar contributions. Rather than using the money to buy television ads or run get-out-the-vote efforts, prosecutors said, the men behind the PACs lined their own pockets. The two committees distributed $19 to political campaigns and causes, prosecutors said, while organizers kept more than $1.5 million for themselves. The two California men were sentenced this year to a combined 17 years in prison for the sham political fundraising operation, seven years after the first allegations of misconduct.